Camarillo company connects with FCC for rural internet

Camarillo company connects with FCC for rural internet

GeoLinks wins contract to hook up parts of California and Nevada


PLUGGED IN—Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of Camarillo-based internet provider GeoLinks, is passionate about bringing high-speed access to residents in rural areas of California and Nevada. “The whole mission is closing the digital divide, providing more opportunities for schooling, operating online businesses, research, etc.,” he said. Acornfile photo

PLUGGED IN—Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of Camarillo-based internet provider GeoLinks, is passionate about bringing high-speed access to residents in rural areas of California and Nevada. “The whole mission is closing the digital divide, providing more opportunities for schooling, operating online businesses, research, etc.,” he said. Acornfile photo

Camarillo-based GeoLinks is expanding into the residential internet market after it won a multimillion-dollar contract from the Federal Communications Commission to help bring high-speed internet to rural areas in California and Nevada.

GeoLinks, a company that uses radio waves instead of cables and wires to provide fixed wireless internet connections, primarily services businesses and institutions such as schools and libraries.

But last month, the Federal Communications Commission announced GeoLinks will receive nearly $88 million as part of the second phase of the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which will give out nearly $1.5 billion over the next 10 years to help underserved Americans get online and close the “digital divide” between those with high-speed internet access and those without.

Skyler Ditchfield, GeoLink’s founder and CEO, said his company will use its share—the largest amount given to a California company and the fifth largest given to any company nationwide— to provide high-speed internet access to about 11,000 homes in California and Nevada.

“It makes a big difference in (rural residents’) lives,” he said. “The whole mission is closing the digital divide, providing more opportunities for schooling, operating online businesses, research, etc. It brings new businesses and brings the economy up for people in extremely rural areas.”

To help install the equipment that will provide internet at speeds of 100 megabits per second, the company plans to hire about 25 people, Ditchfield said.

And while the contract will help the company serve people in their homes, he said, the money will also help GeoLinks serve its traditional customer base of companies and organizations.

“We’re going to utilize it to help bring down the cost of service to anchor institutions like schools and libraries,” he said.

Ryan Adams, GeoLink’s president and chief operating officer, said the FCC contract shows that a local medium-size company can hold its own against powerful internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon that would typically win a government contract like this.

“It shows a company like ourselves, based here in Camarillo, that we can compete at a national level. It’s about having the right people, the right management team and the right employees to compete on this stage,” he said.

While the contract win was exciting, Adams said, GeoLinks remains focused on its mission of ensuring as many people as possible have access to high-speed internet.

“For us, it’s all about connecting people,” he said.

Please follow and like us: